Classical Studies 2300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Gladiator, Political Theatre, Roman Art

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Legal status of gladiators o o o o o. At the furthest margin of the social world. Roman theories of public display: shame (bad thing only low status people) Ultimate disgrace for a roman nobleman was to fight as a gladiator. Because performers put themselves on display for the visual delectation of the crowd, they are often likened to prostitutes o. Means: could not witness a will, appear in court, hold political office. In the arena the social and moral order is confirmed (gladiators fighting below, upper class in stands) To call some a lanista or a gladiator was a term of abuse o. Gladiators also popular figures who could acquire money and status. Thus the gladiator did what was expected of every good citizen if citizen was called up to fight. This gives him claim to being "roman" and admired. Citizens were made braver and better by viewing gladiator fights. Senators secretly collected armor and practicing as gladiators.

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